Lots of directors frequently collaborate with the same actors. Look at Tim Burton - he seems to take the likes of Johnny Depp and his ex-partner Helena Bonham Carter everywhere with him!
Joss Whedon, however, takes this notion to the next level.
If Whedon likes an actor, he will work with them again, and it's as simple as that. Considering how many projects Whedon has worked on (as a director, writer and producer, we should add), that has resulted in him using a lot of actors more than once.
The director has worked on television shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Firefly, Dollhouse and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, as well as movies like Serenity, The Cabin in the Woods, The Avengers, Much Ado About Nothing and Avengers: Age of Ultron - and it might surprise you just how many of those projects have featured the same actors.
With that in mind, we're going to run through just some of the actors that Whedon has utilized the services of on more than one occasion. Here are thirty-one talented actors ("Whedonites") Whedon likes to recycle in his work.
31 Tom Lenk
Tom Lenk's most famous role to date is undoubtedly as the wannabe-supervillain-turned Scooby Gang member Watcher Andrew Wells in Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel (albeit briefly in the latter), but Whedon utilized him more than that.
30 Dichen Lachman
Nepalese-born German-Australian actress Dichen Lachman has worked with Whedon on two different occasions - both of which were on his television shows.
29 Sean Gunn
Sean Gunn, the actor/brother of Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn, has been utilized by Whedon on two occasions in one of his classic television shows. To be specific, Gunn appeared as two different characters on Angel.
28 Jillian Morgese
Jillian Morgese is something of an anomaly on this list, as her first role under Whedon was merely as an extra in 2012's The Avengers. She portrayed a waitress in a restaurant who was fleeing in horror from the alien attack in New York, and based on her impact in the small role, Whedon described her as having "a quality which is undeniable" and cast her in a more substantial role.
27 Felicia Day
Felicia Day has worked with Whedon on no less than three separate occasions, starting with her role in season seven of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, in which she portrayed Vi. Vi was a potential slayer who was transformed into an actual slayer in the final episode of the series.
26 Ashley Johnson
Another actress who has worked with Whedon on three different occasions is Ashley Johnson. Her first Whedon role was in Dollhouse; she played Hayden Leeds in the pilot episode "Ghost" and then portrayed a character called Wendy (also known as Caroline after being with Caroline Farrell's personality) in the episode "Omega".
25 Leland Crooke
Leland Crooke is another actor that played two different characters in each of Whedon's two Buffyverse television shows, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel.
24 Jack Conley
Like the previous entry on this list, Jack Conley is an actor that portrayed two different characters in Whedon's two Buffyverse television shows as well.
23 Reed Diamond
Reed Diamond is an actor who has worked with Whedon on three occasions, spanning the world of both television and movies.
22 Sean Maher
Actor Sean Maher has worked with Whedon on two (well, we guess you could say three) different occasions in both television and in the movies.
21 Spencer Treat Clark
Spencer Treat Clark had two brief roles in Whedon works - one in a movie and one on television.
20 Ron Glass
Ron Glass has appeared in two of Joss Whedon's television shows (Firefly and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.), as well as Firefly's 2005 spin-off Serenity.
19 Riki Lindhome
Riki Lindhome is an actress that had two brief roles in Whedon productions Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Much Ado About Nothing.
18 Enver Gjokaj
Half-Albanian actor Enver Gjokaj has appeared in two Whedon projects, including a television show and a movie.
17 Jonathan M. Woodward
Jonathan M. Woodward has played three different characters - all of which have something in common - in three of Whedon's television shows.
16 Brian Thompson
Brian Thompson played two different villains in two consecutive seasons of Whedon's Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
15 Fran Kranz
Fran Kranz has collaborated with Whedon on three different occasions - two of which were in movies and once on television.
14 Andy Hallett
The late Andy Hallett appeared in both of Whedon's Buffyverse television shows. Sadly, he tragically passed away in 2009 from congestive heart failure after numerous heart complications, followed a dental infection that spread through his bloodstream five years earlier.
13 Amy Acker
Actress Amy Acker is categorically prolific when it comes to collaborating with Whedon on his projects. She has appeared in three of his television shows and two of his movies.
12 Gina Torres
Actress Gina Torres - who is the real-life wife of Laurence Fishburne - has starred in two of Whedon's television shows and in one of his movies.
11 Camden Toy
Brilliant character actor Camden Toy often takes roles as weird creatures underneath heavy make-up or costumes. He's done it for Whedon no less than four times in two different television shows.
10 Andy Umberger
Andy Umberger spent a large chunk of his career on stage, but he has also appeared in three of Whedon's television shows, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel and Firefly.
9 J. August Richards
J. August Richards has appeared in two different roles under the directorship of Whedon, and both were on television shows that took place almost ten years apart.
8 Adam Baldwin
Adam Baldwin's acting career has seen him appear in some huge films (Full Metal Jacket, Predator 2, Independence Day), but he has also appeared in two of Whedon's television shows, as well as one of his movies.
7 Summer Glau
Actress Summer Glau has appeared in three different Joss Whedon television shows and in one of his movies, too.
6 Nathan Fillion
Nathan Fillion is truly a bona fide "Whedonite." He acted under the directorship of Whedon on television, in movies and in a web series titled Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog.
In terms of his television work under Whedon, he portrayed regular character Malcolm "Mal" Reynolds in Firefly, and was the secondary "Big Bad" in season five's Buffy the Vampire Slayer as the evil priest Caleb. In terms of his movie work under Whedon, he played Dogberry in 2012's Much Ado About Nothing.
5 Jeremy Renner
Jeremy Renner has become a Hollywood A-lister, but his early career was more modest, and as a result, he had a minor role in a Whedon television show. He also worked under Whedon in two movies.
4 Chris Hemsworth
Chris Hemsworth has worked under the directorship of Whedon solely on movie projects (three to be precise) and his biggest role to date came courtesy of his place in his first Whedon movie.
2012's The Cabin in the Woods was actually filmed in 2009, with Hemsworth playing "the athlete" Curt Vaughan. He impressed Whedon so much that the director campaigned for him to become Thor in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Hemsworth auditioned to play the character and won the role, first portraying the Asgardian hero in the character's first solo movie, and then he went on to work with Whedon in 2012's The Avengers and 2015's Avengers: Age of Ultron.
3 Clark Gregg
The wonderful Clark Gregg has worked with Whedon in two movies and in one television series, although his initial work with Whedon was through none of Whedon's actions.
2 Alexis Denisof
Alexis Denisof - who, for the record, is married to Buffy the Vampire Slayer star Alyson Hannigan in real life - has appeared in three of Whedon's television shows and in two of his movies.
1 Eliza Dushku
Eliza Dushku has appeared in three television shows that have been directed by Whedon, including Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel and Dollhouse.
She was something of a sporadic regular in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, playing sometimes-evil slayer Faith Lehane in 20 episodes. She also played the same character in six episodes of Angel. Later, she went on to play Echo (also known as Caroline Farrell), the main character of Dollhouse.
And that's that! Undoubtably, there were other actors that appeared in multiple productions under Joss Whedon's directorship, but only as a byproduct of the fact that their characters crossed over into other shows or movies like Buffy and Angel. Those names include Sarah Michelle Gellar (Buffy Summers), Alyson Hannigan (Willow Rosenberg), James Marsters (Spike), David Boreanaz (Angel), Seth Green (Daniel "Oz" Osbourne), Julie Benz (Darla) and Juliet Landau (Drusilla). They weren't eligible for this list, as Whedon hadn't recycled them as different characters.
Sources: Whedonverse Wiki, Marvel Cinematic Universe Wiki, IMDB.
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